I was excited about finally crossing the New Mexico border for a couple reasons: First, I knew that it was a huge milestone, since I skated about 800 miles through Texas. Second, my sources told me that the roads in New Mexico are generally smoother and the wind is a little calmer than in Texas. The comment about the wind did not hold true on my third day in the new state.
Yesterday, I skated from Hatch, NM to just outside of Deming, NM. There were some pretty serious hills toward the beginning, as I increased my elevation by about 500 feet in the course of roughly 5 miles. That, however, was not the big challenge of the day. The wind was back in full force, and I essentially skated 39 miles head-on into 20 MPH winds. Anyone who has ridden a bike into heavy winds would have a pretty good idea about just how fun that was. Except carrying a 3’x5′ American flag is much like dragging a parachute through the wind.
As I was preparing to get back on the road after my first pit-stop, about 13 miles in, I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the next 25 miles of punishment. With wind like that, skating with that flag is comparable to running under normal conditions. I was essentially preparing myself for a marathon effort after having already skated 13 miles.
Just as I stepped out of the RV, I had an interesting thought: “What if, for each of the next 12 miles before my next pit-stop, I celebrate?” I decided that the natural tendency in physically difficult situations like this is to think about how negative and difficult the circumstances are. It was clear to me: I would have to create my own strength and happiness for the next 25 miles. I would start by defying all negative thoughts for the first 12.
For the next 12 miles, I would get myself as hyped and pumped as possible each time I crossed a mile marker. My plan was to get progressively more excited the higher the numbers got. It wasn’t easy, and I even thought about scrapping the idea a few times, but I kept it going. “I promised myself 12 celebrations, and I will have them!” I told myself with resolve.
There’s something remarkable about the human spirit: It is not so important how difficult or painful a given task may be. The real important factors are the motivation, the energy, and the “why” behind what we do. We can put up with almost any “how,” if given the right “why.” I needed immediate inspiration and strength to press on, and I found it by creating positive energy around what I was doing. In case you were wondering, the 12th celebration did in fact bring an incredible sense of accomplishment. I will never forget my “12 Celebrations” in defiance of the blasting winds on highway 26 between Hatch and Deming, NM. I’ve never felt so strong in the face of true difficulty.
Distance Since last Update: 122 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 2646 miles
SKATE LOCATION: 8 miles east of Deming, NM
STATUS: Enjoying a much needed day off in Deming, NM